Where To Dine In Oxford For A Special Occasion

By Ellie Smith

3 months ago

Oxford's top eateries

Celebrating something special in Oxford and looking for the city’s top culinary spots? You’ll be spoilt for choice: the historic university town is filled with many upmarket restaurants. Long-standing city stalwarts sit alongside buzzy newbies, with great eateries dotted both along the riverside and in the bustling town centre – plus some world-famous spots on the outskirts. Read on for the best fine dining restaurants in Oxford, offering classic British cuisine, French fare and more.

Best Fine Dining Restaurants In Oxford

Le Manoir hotel

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Located a little outside the city in Great Milton, but well worth travelling for, is Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir. It’s one of the most esteemed foodie hotels in the country, home to an exceptional restaurant which has held onto two Michelin stars for almost 40 years. A pioneer in the farm-to-table movement, the eatery offers an array of tasting menus designed to showcase the best of seasonal produce, some grown in the hotel’s own organic vegetable garden. Current dishes on offer include Cornish lobster raviolo, Rhug Estate venison, and duck liver terrine with English rhubarb, with the option to pair menus with artisan, biodynamic wines.

Church Rd, Great Milton, Oxford OX44 7PD, belmond.com

Cherwell Boathouse

Cherwell Boathouse

It doesn’t get much more Oxford than Cherwell Boathouse, set on the banks of the river, beside the punting station. The beloved family-run spot has been around for years, and is currently helmed by John Verdin, son of the original founder Anthony Verdin. It focuses on modern English food: begin with starters of southern fried partridge or confit salmon ahead of mains like braised pork belly, crisp falafel with coconut and garlic yoghurt, or skrei cod with lemon and heritage kale. The terrace is open year-round, but it’s particularly magical with a glass of rose during the summer months.

Bardwell Rd, Oxford OX2 6ST, cherwellboathouse.co.uk

Old Parsonage

Old Parsonage Hotel

Another big player on the Oxford hotel scene is the Old Parsonage, a smart spot in the city centre. Its restaurant, Parsonage Grill, is a treat year-round – cosy in winter, with its 17th century fireplace and blue velvet upholstery, and idyllic in the warmer months, when you can dine on the al fresco terrace. There’s a focus on classic British fare which celebrates seasonal produce: for spring, that includes dishes like wild garlic risotto, blood orange salad with fennel, and monkfish tail with samphire and tenderstem broccoli. The restaurant also serves a lovely afternoon tea – perfect after a stroll around the historic town.

1-3 Banbury Rd, Oxford OX2 6NN, oldparsonagehotel.co.uk

The Folly

This hotspot takes riverside dining to new heights, with a terrace floating on the waters of the Thames. Whether you’re sitting here or in the restaurant inside, you’ll be treated to one of Oxford’s best fine dining meals. A six-course tasting menu is available every evening, featuring creative, elegant dishes like beef shin with caramelised celeriac mash, quinoa moussaka, salt-baked cauliflower, and Baileys cheesecake. For a special occasion, book one of the pre-dinner cruises, ahead of a three-course a la carte meal. 

1 Folly Brg, Oxford OX1 4JU, no1-folly-bridge.co.uk



Located in the pretty suburb of Summertown, Pompette – the French word for tipsy – serves up a European-inspired menu, with nods to head chef Pascal Wiedemann’s French roots. Enjoy cured meats and cheese paired with a selection of European wines at the charcuterie wine bar, or opt for a more formal dinner in the dining room. Pascal’s maximum flavour, minimum waste ethos is reflected throughout the menu, with current dishes including duck magret with caramelised celeriac, roast curried cauliflower, and Cornish mussels with garlic. The Prix Fixe menu, meanwhile, is available for lunch and early dinner, Tuesday to Friday, and offers two courses for £26 or three for £32.

7 S Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JL, pompetterestaurant.co.uk